At a meeting in Portland, Oregon, on January 6, the American Dialect Society voted "occupy" 2011 Word of the Year. There were winners in other categories, too. "Humblebrag---an expression of false humility, especially by celebrites on Twitter---was voted Most Useful. The Most Creative winner was "mellencamp"---a woman who has aged out of being a 'cougar' (after John Cougar Mellencamp). Most Euphemistic award went to "job creator"---member of the top one percent of moneymakers.
Words or phrases don't have to be neologisms, or newly coined. The only prerequisite is that they be "newly prominent or notable in the past year".
The American Dialect Society has been around since 1889 and among its members are authors, editors, etymologists, grammarians, historians, independent scholars, lexicographers, linguists, researchers, university students, and writers. The Who's Who when it comes to words. If you're interested in the runners-up or winners in other categories, go to americandialectsociety.org.
There were two nominees I really liked. Placing second in the Word of the Year category was FOMO, an acronym for Fear Of Missing Out---describing anxiety over being inundated by information on social media. It suggests a 'fear' word we're all familiar with: phobia. And just might catch on.
An also-ran in the Most Creative category may ultimately be as ephemeral as its pop-culture namesake, but it does tickle my funnybone: kardash. A kardash is a unit of measurement. Not of the posterior, but of the temporal: 72 days---the diurnal duration of the Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries marriage. Approximately 1/5 of a year. A decakardash would be about two years, or a term in the House. Two centuries would be roughly a kilokardash. A kilokardash? Its alliteration alone should find it a place in the Oxford English Dictionary.